For Applicants and Agents

When designing a shoreline erosion control or other project that impacts tidal wetlands, subaqueous lands, and/or beaches and dunes, completing a Joint Permit Application (JPA) is a necessary step of the process. Once a JPA is submitted, a local wetlands board or the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) may contact VIMS ORAS to review the project and provide scientific information regarding impacts, minimization, and mitigation.

ORAS staff typically conducts a site visit and develops a report advising on potential marine environmental impacts, or lack thereof, of the project. As VIMS has no regulatory authority, VMRC regulators and associated wetland boards consider the information in the VIMS report as well as other factors when reaching permitting decisions.


A variety of resources are available that provide useful information on shoreline stabilization strategies and designs.

The Department of Conservation and Recreation's Shoreline Erosion Advisory Service (SEAS)

SEAS can perform an on-site assessment and report detailing various erosion control options. More information can be found here

Living Shorelines Design Guidelines for Shore Protections in Virginia's Estuarine Environments
Provides information on design considerations and erosion control options, specific to the Bay. Find the report by Hardaway et al. (2017) here
Shoreline Studies Program Shoreline Evolution GIS Map
Displays shoreline erosion rates between 1937, 2009, and 2017. Find the map here.
Center for Coastal Resources Management (CCRM) Shoreline Management Model
An overview of existing and suggested shoreline stabilization strategies that can provide preliminary information when considering design options. Additional site-specific information is necessary to fully design/evaluate a project. (Links are provided to the Virginia-wide map via adaptVA and locality portals.) Read more here
Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) Interactive Map
Direct impacts to SAV beds must be avoided and/or minimized. In Virginia, an SAV bed is where SAV has been mapped in at least one of the previous five years of data, at any density. View the map here
Tidal Wetlands Guidelines

Virginia's Tidal Wetlands Guidelines can be viewed here.